The Guest List

Photo by Kimbry Studios via Bridal Guide

Photo by Kimbry Studios via Bridal Guide

Alright folks, buckle down for today’s post. After a few weeks of gorgeous inspiration and happy endings, today is a day to get real. Let’s talk about the one thing that is causing some major stress in my otherwise blissful life. The guest list.

As y’all will soon find out, we decided very early on that the SC Aquarium was going to be our incredible venue! This wonderful place did come with a slight downside – we have to narrow our ceremony to 175 guests. That seems like a lot of people, right? I thought so until I started writing down names. After all, I was the one that originally suggested we get married on the beach with only 25 or 30 guests! But once you add up immediate family, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, etc. etc., well, it gets a little out of hand.

Photo via Walcot Hall

Photo via Walcot Hall

Our preliminary guest list is at 260 right now. Since our wedding will be a destination for a large percentage of our guests, 2 things could happen. First possibility: People decide they can’t travel and we end up with only half of the guests we invite. Second possibility (and the more likely in our case since we are getting married on a holiday weekend): Everyone decides that they need a vacation and your wedding is the perfect excuse and almost everyone decides to come! We’ve decided to expect that more people will come than not and are working on narrowing the list down to about 225. So this assumes that about 20% of our invitees will sadly decline. And we will miss them! (But will also be sighing in relief. A little bit.) From what I’ve read, this is pretty standard, so I think we will be safe!

Photo via Yours is the Earth Shop on Etsy

Photo via Yours is the Earth Shop on Etsy

But how to narrow down? So many people and so many difficult decisions! I’ve been driving myself crazy thinking how disappointed people would be if they are not invited. My fiancé has helped me to stop and remember – this is our wedding and it is for us. We are not putting on a show for our family and friends, we are committing our lives to one another and we want the amazing people who support us to be there and witness our commitment. With this spin, it’s a little easier. Marginally. I can take off the high school friend that I lost touch with after graduation and the college freshman roommate that I didn’t really get along with anyway. Yay, two down! Remember to celebrate the small victories everyone!

Photo via Southern Weddings by Akil Bennett

Photo by Akil Bennett via Southern Weddings

Our biggest sticking points are family and plus ones. Etiquette dictates that you give every single, adult guest a plus one. We’ve decided to go with this one, as it doesn’t make a huge difference to our count. But I’ve been invited to plenty of weddings solo, so it’s not a faux pas. If your single guests all know each other and will be able to mingle and chat, you can safely drop the plus one. But if you feel your single guest may not know many people, or are very shy in nature, help them out a little by letting them bring a guest. Family is where it gets really tricky. This is where feelings could be hurt and where you and your parents may disagree. This is where I really have to stop and remind myself that this is about me and my fiancé, not about everyone else. I’ve started to approach these invites by group. If I invite my mom’s sister, then I have to invite her brother. If I invite Uncle Larry’s oldest daughter, then I have to invite the youngest daughter too. This has helped my analytical brain to think through this decision logically and to avoid explosion with the mass volume of family I have. The trouble with that solution is that your parents may disagree with your decisions. Prepare yourself with some reasons that you left someone off the list to explain your decision. If you are able to discuss the rationale further than “our list needs to be smaller” chances are everyone will be more receptive (and hopefully less emotional!).

Photo by Tim Will Photography via A Lowcountry Wed

Photo by Tim Will Photography via A Lowcountry Wed

We’ve also decided to go a slightly non-traditional route by inviting some local friends to the reception, but not the ceremony. This is helping us focus on our family and friends that have traveled to be with us, but still have a great time with everyone who supports us every day!

When it really comes down to it, as long as my fiancé is in attendance, that’s really all that matters. So make the list, stick to it, and then forget about it. The day goes by way too fast to spend time thinking about the people you couldn’t invite. Relax and enjoy with those nearest and dearest that will surround you.

Photo by Richard Bell Photography via A Lowcountry Wed

Photo by Richard Bell Photography via A Lowcountry Wed

Next post – back to the pretty! Happy planning, y’all!

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